...to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free....

17 December, 2011

thoughts on keeping a sabbath

My cousin Cath calls the days between 
Thanksgiving and Christmas
"The Women's Olympics".
She's so right, isn't she?

I've been among the missing these days
because, no matter how very hard I planned it,  
how simple and pared down I made it,
and how much advanced preparation I did,
I still ended up frazzed.

It could be due to the fact that I am 
not as young as I used to be.
It certainly is substantially due
to my husband's increasing limitations,
and the fracturing of my time and attention because of that.

It could also be that we travelled early
to celebrate the holidays--
we're already "away", enjoying our darling grand-girl
and awaiting the arrival of our grand-boy in a few days.

But I am weary--more weary than I want to be.
In my life,  every time I have sat down to write a letter to myself,
it has invariably been about how I have too little time
to do the things I want to do.
...And that was before my husband became disabled.

I've been writing myself another letter these days.

It's related to the Old Testament story of creation.
The part where the Creator rested on the 7th day.
About what a very good example this is,
for the religious and non-religious alike.

At this time in our culture, the notion 
of a day of rest is forgotten strange 
almost frowned upon.

Stores brag that they are open seven days a week.
(Remember when everything was closed on Sundays--
or did that only happen in New England?)
We can access our work via computer.
We can interact with people
nonstop via various kinds of social media.
We commit ourselves--overcommit ourselves
and forget about the notions of 
being still.

In my letter to myself, I am thinking of establishing
a new policy--inspired by the holidays, 
but for all time, all year,
forever and forever, amen.

I am thinking about how to take one day of the week
and use it as my sabbatical.  
A day to do nothing but be still.
Look at the world, not consider what needs to be done,
not to 'book' in any way,
a day just to follow my nose into whatever
inspires me that day, as it happens.
A day for simple renewal.

Hanging out today with my granddaughter
reinforced that notion.
She is a busy, sunny little toddler.
She responds to what she sees, hears and feels--
but wakes with no agenda
and has no list of things to accomplish
--she just is.
When she is hungry, she eats.
When she is tired, she naps.
When she is awake, she is thoroughly enthralled with "now."  

I'm wondering if you, too, feel "holiday tired" these days? 

How do you keep some time to yourself?
Does it work?

Do you keep some kind of sabbatical every week?


  1. This is lovely and speaks to me in so many ways.

    I find myself tired as well and you certainly give me pause here to reflect on not only why, but, what to do about it. I find that I need times to just be; be still, quiet, without an agenda. As I've aged, I can't run on full throttle as I used to and find I am a better person if I take time to just be still in my days (and that means off of the computer as well).

    This holiday season I had to tell a few friends no thank you to a few activities they wanted me to do with them. I know that feelings were initially hurt, but, then, they admitted that it actually made them slow down a bit as well.

    Enjoy your time with your family. A new grand! How grand that will be!

  2. Sundays were like that in Pennsylvania, too and they were called the Blue Laws. This is always a time of year for reflecting, and I am especially noticing a slowing down with myself too. My back bothers me even when I'm just standing at the counter for anything more than a half hour. Little things like this. I think it's good to relax for a day and I admit that I do this on Sundays. I don't believe it's intentional all the time, but Sunday is a day for rest. And it sure feels good to rest.

  3. What a very thoughtful and thought provoking, as well as beautiful. I have just taken time out and have been playing with my granddaughter, son and daughter-in-law. Family time is so very lovely and important and should not get taken over by busyness and stress. Have a wonderful Christmas.

  4. I meant to say, your post is thoughtful and thought provoking. Typing too fast - so much for taking things more slowly :-)

  5. Oh *sigh*.
    Finally! Someone says it out loud! (or via blogger!)
    What a wonderful wonderful post!
    I wholeheartedly agree.
    My husband and the farm has always taken Sunday off...even if it was the only sunny day of the week during harvest or seeding.
    Without it, I truly feel the rest of our weeks would not be as productive!
    I just KNOW we were created to take at least a day out of the 7 to breathe and be still.
    Thank you for this post.
    (And THANK YOU for my Christmas card I just opened:) It was so lovely to get that from you, thank you so much for your thoughtfulness Mike!:))

  6. Perhaps it's just me, but Christmas has changed a lot since I was a child. Today, the Holiday is bigger, brighter, the decorations are so...busy, family newsletters sound like they were written by a media consultant and gift giving has become a competitive sport. All the excess spills over to consume every waking hour in December. This year we have pared down to the basics and it feels wonderful. I suspect that won't be the case next year and certainly not for the coming months...sandwich generation that we are, but this small respite is lovely.

  7. Small steps to change, The Kaizen Way...